Project 21 Advisory Committee Chairman Edmund Peterson's
Statement on the Counterproductive Capital Gains Tax



(Delivered at a Capitol Hill press conference on March 20, 1997)

Contact: Arturo Silva at (202) 543-4110 or [email protected]


As Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the African-American group Project 21, I have spoken on tax and other issues that do not usually strike my opponents as being "black issues." The capital gains tax is one of those issues.

It's a rich man's tax, my critics say, why are you opposed to it?

Besides resenting the implication that black people as a whole are poor, I object to the capital gains tax, the estate tax, and similar taxes because I believe they're stupid and counterproductive.

A capital gains tax is supposed to be a tax on the increase in value of certain assets (such as one's home, business, stocks or bonds). Since wealthy people own the most assets, they're supposed to be hit the hardest. But they're not hit the hardest, the middle class is hit the hardest.

Black homeowners and aspiring black entrepreneurs are two groups in society who are paying and will pay the price of the capital gains tax. It is astonishing that many of these homeowners will in fact be paying tax on an imaginary increase in wealth, since most of it will be the result of inflation. Likewise, black entrepreneurs are hurt because capital is inaccessible due to people hanging on to their assets to avoid the tax.

None of this matters to the greedy politicians. It doesn't even matter that the evidence is clear that every time the capital gains tax rate has been raised, the realization of revenue from the tax fell. What matters most to these politicians is that they tax us when we work, they tax us when we save, they tax us when we marry, they tax us when we drive, they tax us when we own, and they tax us when we die.

I applaud Rep. Ed Royce's leadership, and hope his proposal is a step toward gaining back our freedom -- an overtaxed asset if there ever was one.

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